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The Future of Queer Nightlife Won't Encourage Substance Abuse

Queer Nightlife

Sober nightlife producer Oly Innes talks about how entertaining and empowering club spaces can be without alcohol.

"My goal as a sober nightlife producer is to create an experience that doesn't require you to be intoxicated to have fun," says Oly Innes, who has been producing queer parties around the world for three years. For Innes, that looks like an event that is "both entertaining and empowering without encouraging substance use."

Queer bars and parties suffer from a lack of resources in general, especially if you're catering to anything outside the "G" in LGBTQ+. Aside from making sure his parties are inclusive and intersectional, Innes imagines a world where gay clubs and alcohol are not synonymous. Because party producers often make money based on how many drinks are sold, Innes tries to prioritize programming and the ambience, especially when it comes to drag, performance, and music. "At any of my events, there is probably a queer kid coming, and this is their first night out, and I need to make them feel like they have come home and found their people, as I did the first time someone took me out," Innes says. With this mindset, he says, you can discourage addictive behaviors and force people to focus on the community first.

This is one of our 50 Radical Ideas, featured in Out's June/July 2019 issue celebrating Stonewall 50. The three covers feature the enduring legacy of activist Sylvia Rivera, the complicated candidacy of presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg, and the triumphant star power of actress Mj Rodriguez. To read more, grab your own copy of the issue on Kindle, Nook, Zinio or (newly) Apple News+ today. Preview more of the issue here and click here to subscribe.

30 Years of Out100Out / Advocate Magazine - Jonathan Groff and Wayne Brady

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